Facts: Petitioner Janet Carlisle filed suit against respondent Columbia Irrigation District in the Superior Court for Benton County, asserting that she had been deprived of property without due process of law in violation of Article I §3 of the Washington State Constitution after the Columbia Irrigation District, in accordance with the requirements of Washington Revised Code §87.03.560, gave notice via publication, collected sufficient signatures in support of, and held a hearing discussing the creation of a local improvement district that would include property owned by Carlisle. The trial court granted summary judgment to the Columbia Irrigation District and dismissed Carlisle’s claim. Carlisle appealed this decision to the Supreme Court of Washington.
Question(s): Did the statutory procedures relied upon by the Columbia Irrigation District to create a new local improvement district deprive Carlisle and others owning land in the proposed district of property without due process of law by potentially subjecting them to future property tax increases resulting from improvements made by the district?
Conclusion: Justice Fairhurst’s opinion for a unanimous Court held that Carlisle had not been deprived of property without due process of law insofar as any actual deprivation of property was contingent upon future action that had not yet occurred. As Carlisle and other property owners in the district would still have the right to a hearing to determine whether any improvements forming the basis for increased property tax assessments actually conferred special benefit upon their property, they had suffered no deprivation merely as a result of the creation of the local improvement district. Thus, as the Columbia Irrigation District had complied with the requirements of §87.03.560 by giving notice of the proposed expansion via publication, collecting a sufficient number of valid signatures supporting the expansion, and holding a public hearing, the Court affirmed the trial court’s decision.
Docket No. 82035-0 (from Benton Case No. 07-2-01773-6)
Petitioner: Janet Carlisle
(Counsel: John Stephen Ziobro)
Respondent: Columbia Irrigation Dist.
(Counsel: Terry Elgin Miller and James Paul Wagner)
Argument: Thursday, May 28, 2009 9:00am
[Source: TVW, http://tvw.org]
Audio: Washington Supreme Court
Decided: Thursday, April 1st, 2010
Court: Madsen1 Court (2010-)
Note: We post only slip opinion(s) as published at the time of the decision. Please consult Washington Reports printed volumes for the opinion(s) in their final form. Undetermined votes indicate that the opinion(s) have not been evaluated yet.